Sarnia Sting goaltender Ben Gaudreau will represent Canada at the 2023 World Junior Championships, Hockey Canada announced Monday.
The 19-year-old Corbeil, Ontario native, currently in his third season with the Sting, was among 22 players announced to the National Junior Team roster, which also includes Sting head coach Al Letang as assistant coach.
“In our opinion, we have formed a group with a lot of depth and talent that will give us the best opportunity to defend our gold medal on home soil,” said director of player personnel Alan Millar. “The selection camp resulted in many difficult decisions, and we want to congratulate our players and their families. We look forward to seeing them proudly wear the maple leaf in Halifax and Moncton.”
Since being selected by the Sting 7th overall in the 2019 Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Priority Selection, Gaudreau has played in 94 OHL games, posting a 0.886 save percentage and a goals against average of 3.86. He’s recorded an impressive .924 save percentage and 2.63 goals against average through 6 career playoff appearances, the Sting noted.
In 2021,Gaudreau made his debut with Hockey Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championships in Frisco, Texas. Through 5 games played on route to an international championship, Gaudreau went undefeated in the Canadian net, recording a .919 save percentage and a goals against average of just 2.20 in the process.
Gaudreau's performance with Team Canada set the stage for the 2021 National Hockey League (NHL) Entry Draft, where he was selected by the San Jose Sharks with the 81st overall pick on Saturday, July 24th, 2021.
The 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship will take place Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick.
The team will train in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, from Dec. 14-18 before facing Switzerland on Dec. 19, Slovakia on Dec. 21, and Finland on Dec.23 as part of their pre-season schedule.
The World Junior Championship begins Boxing Day with four games; Canada takes on the Czech Republic at the Scotiabank Center in Halifax at 7:30 p.m. AT.
They’ll also face Germany, Austria and Sweden in the preliminary round. The tournament wraps up Jan. 5 with the bronze and gold medal matches.